Do What I Said!…Just Do It Later

Most of us grew up having some memory of an argument with our parents.  If you’re like most parents, you’re even finding yourself repeating these arguments with your own teen.  The basic components of these arguments include a disagreement, annoyance that our kids did (or didn’t do) something, questions, and possibly commands or ultimatums.  The secret ingredient behind these frustrating situations?  Blood. Its all about blood.  Or oxygen.  Or maybe its about proper brain function.  Well, I guess its actually all three.  You see, its really about Perfusion.  Lemme explain…. Perfusion is a biology term that refers to the body’s ability to send blood wherever it is needed.  If you’ve ever gone running on a scorching hot summer day, then placed your hand on your stomach, what do you feel?  Hot?  Nope.  Your stomach is cool and clammy.  Even on a scorching hot summer day. Even after you’ve gotten hot and sweaty from running.  Why is this?  Answer: Perfusion!  Your body has recognized that your guts don’t have a priority need for digestion and has diverted blood-flow away from your guts and into your legs, which is where you are actually needing blood-flow prioritized.  If you touch your legs, they will be very hot.  See?  Perfusion. What does this mean for arguments?  Well, the same perfusion is at work in our brains.  The front of our brain is in charge of all the thinking stuff: logic, knowing how to problem solve, smart decision making, keeping mom & dad happy, etc.  The back of the brain is where emotion happens.  Like anger, frustration, and jumping to conclusions about how if-my-kid-keeps-doing-this-he-wont-make-it-in-life kind of stuff.  Basically, the more emotional we get, the more our body is sending blood away from the front of our brain and jetting it to the back to support that emotion.  Physically speaking, we don’t have adequate blood-flow to think clearly.  And neither do our kids.  No amount of amazing parent-smarts is gonna be able to sink into our kids heads because their front brain simply isn’t working.  Stop taking, you are literally wasting your words. The priority for any argument is to calm down.  And no, you’re not so amazing that your presence can help your teen calm down.  In fact, you might be the thing that is keeping your kid amped up.  So.  Send them to their room, you go to your room (if you’re upset) and return to this conversation in awhile.  Both your brains will have gotten that blood back to where it needs to be and you’ll be able to make more progress on things so that your teen can someday make-it-in-life.